Monday, January 7th, 2013

'Twilight Series': Bite Me Four Times Shame On Me

While getting ready to write this month's Classic Trash column on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, Nicole tripped on a tree root and was unconscious in a bed of leaves for several hours. This, as best as she can remember it, was the ensuing dream.

Forks, Washington. The Year 3013.

As the dawn broke, I continued doing my new jigsaw puzzle, a beautiful interlocking mosaic released to commemorate the 500th anniversary of a successful Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution based largely but not exclusively on the 1967 borders. It wasn't a physical puzzle, of course, since we now had those retina field computers you accessed with brain waves.

I had never quite gotten used to not sleeping. Sometimes I tossed back a handful of Ambien just to see if I could zone out for a bit, but consciousness never really left me. It gave you a lot of time to think, though. Sometimes I just stood in the middle of the room, not needing to lean on things or adjust my body in any way, thinking about how many people there were in the world, and how some of them probably shared my insatiable need to be constantly provided with positive reinforcement and emotional reassurance.

After moving the last piece into place, I crossed the room to where Edward was seated at the piano, tapping out his arrangement of the Kindertotenlieder absentmindedly with his toes.

"Hey, Edward," I said. "Do you want to go hunt a mountain lion and then stare into each other's eyes in a field of flowers?" I managed to place a positive inflection on the words, but, in truth, the idea barely held my interest.

Edward closed the lid of the piano.

"I've been meaning to tell you something, Bella," he said, somberly. I stared into his eyes, which I suddenly noticed were golden, not black, as they had been the night before when we came back from not-eating dinner with Rosalie and Emmett. It had been the usual Tuesday date night; Emmett broke a bunch of rocks, and Rosalie was a total bitch for no reason.

"Wait, did you go hunting without me?"

"Yeah, it was just an impulsive, last-minute thing."

"You should have said something," I said lightly. At least, I tried to say it lightly, but my stomach had begun to churn. Or it would have churned, if I still had stomach acid. I also would have begun to hunch over and pick at my cuticles, if I didn't have perfect vampire posture and really strong cuticles.

"I've met someone."

"Is this a joke? Are you trying to protect me from something again? Because I don't need that any more, see?" I took a knife out of the butcher block and dropped it point-down on my foot, then shrugged to demonstrate how neutral my reaction was.

Edward smiled sadly. "That does take me back. I remember when that guy broke your arm and threw you into a glass wall. You were terrified."

"I don't understand."

"It's just… after a thousand years, I miss how cool you used to think it was that I was a vampire. You really looked up to me. I would pick you up and carry you places really quickly, and get mad when you had outside interests or friends in case they might hurt you, and you were really into that."

"But I'm a vampire too, now. I haven't faced anything resembling danger since that whole Volturi mess."

"Exactly. Thank God, I thought this was going to be hard." Edward smiled, and took my ice-cold hand in his.


"I was a vampire, and you weren't, and now you can do all the same things I can, and I don't have this amazing new world to show you anymore. But I can show it to Montana."

"Edward," I said, gritting my extremely sharp teeth, "who the actual fuck is Montana?"

"Just a girl. She accidentally saw me sparkling. I told her everything. Then she watched me hunt. Then we made out. Then we had sex, but I was way, way more careful about pulling out than I was that last time."

"Oh my God. Did you even think about Reneesme? How is she going to feel about this?"

"She'll be fine. Children want their parents to be happy. Also, she's literally a thousand years old, and married to a pedophile wolf who engaged in classic grooming behavior with her for a couple of decades, so I think she knows that life gets weird sometimes."

"Edward… Edward," I said, waiting for the tears to come. But they didn't. I felt okay. Light. Fresh. Like a field of purple-y flowers.

"I can't tell if it's your general flat affect, or if you're not that mad, Bella," Edward said, in a questioning tone.

"I… I'm not that mad, honestly. But I do have somewhere to be."

I kissed him gently on top of his head, opened the door, and began running with my super-speed to our Thomas Kinkade sex cottage, while a When Harry Met Sally-esque montage played in my head.

As I got to the door, it opened. Before me stood Alice, wearing nothing but a knowing smile and short, smooth fingernails. Her hair was backlit by the fire she had made in the hearth.

"Alice, were you… were you waiting for me? Did you see this coming?" I stammered helplessly.

"For a thousand years, Bella. For a thousand years."

And that night we were not divided. Also, I learned where my clitoris actually was and that we had basically identical Netflix queues.


1. What is the first line of your imaginary Twilight fanfic?

2. You've read "Our Bella, Ourselves," yes? I think it is basically correct. What do you think?

3. Movie time! Who is the hottest? I would have said Jasper, but his hair was dumb in the last movie. Emmett is kind of a meathead, but he also seems like he would have that Ryan Lochte Sex Idiot appeal.

4. Why do they all have dumb hair?

5. I genuinely enjoyed all of these horrible books and movies, but they are terribly written and gross. Do you think these horrible books would still be horrible if they were well-written, or would the subject matter and grossness of Jacob-and-Reneesme still doom them?

6. Do you want to be a Twilight vampire? I want to be a Twilight vampire so badly, apart from not-sleeping.

7. Even more than being a Twilight vampire, I want to be the person who wrote the Twilight books, but really well and not-gross.

8. Will each generation read these books, or will they eventually fall into the dark maw of history?

9. Do you ever wonder what the next thing will be? I mean, there are going to be more Big Things that we obsess about like we did with Harry Potter and Twilight. I can't wait for it.

10. Kristen Stewart is extremely hot. Agree or disagree?

11. Taylor Lautner is eventually going to have the best People Magazine coming-out cover ever. Calling it now and for all time.

Previously in Classic Trash: 'Papillon': Thug Life In French Guiana

Nicole Cliffe is the books editor of The Hairpin and the proprietress of Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews.

36 Comments / Post A Comment

AHP (#240,564)

12.) Why is Stephenie Meyer so into long jean skirts and sleeveless button-ups?

deepomega (#1,720)

@AHP Mormonism.

@deepomega I bet she originally made some reference to the Quileute tribe being, like all Native Americans, descended from Israelities, and then the publisher locked that shit dowwwwn.

deepomega (#1,720)

@Nicole Cliffe@facebook LAMANITES

@deepomega THANK YOU. I live in Utah, I should know better.

Nabonwe (#12,500)

If this thread turns super-trashy, I will share my opinions about the secret sexual meanings behind the Twilight phenomenon, but I'm not doing that in the inaugural comment.

Instead, I will just say – Nicole, did you ever (or have you ever talked about) doing a Classic Trash on The Prince of Tides? I could have sworn that I learned about it from you but Google isn't being helpful. But it is both SO GREAT and SO TRASHY. I read it over break and it was the kind of glorious reading experience I haven't been able to recreate since I was in junior high.

melis (#1,854)

@Nabonwe Secret?

Nabonwe (#12,500)

@melis I can see where that was confusing – I meant my SECRET THEORY, not that the sex is secret. And my theory is that while everyone is reading these as proto-BDSM submission fantasies (girls just wanna get beaten up and hurt and thrown around by their lovers, aka 50 shades) I think there's actually a lot of confused desire to dominate written between the lines. Like, all the girls want is to be capital-W worshipped and have the guys falling at their feet panting and begging for a single touch, and the girl is austere and powerful in the relationship because the guy is so overcome by desire. I think the book's young fans could work this out a lot more healthily by getting a working relationship with kink and consent, instead of learning the message that the only way to get that kind of satisfaction is to have a semi-stalker who can only think about you.

@Nabonwe I approve of and agree with this theory.

riotnrrd (#840)


jfruh (#713)

For the next big thing in YA lit, can we go retro and have some teens who solve mysteries? EVERYONE LOVES IT WHEN TEENS SOLVE MYSTERIES.

Carrie Frye (#9,863)

@jfruh Oh my gosh, I wish the Three Investigators would return. Jupiter Jones, Private Investigator & TRAMPIRE.

@jfruh Oh, man, I love the Three Investigators.

melis (#1,854)

Kristen Stewart is the most hot and I will never ever ever ever ever understand why there isn't just a movie of her slouching around in menswear. I would look at it for ten thousand years. She looks like the human manifestation of Tuberculosis. She looks like a royal meteorite that has been forced to conceal itself in a mortal body, or like the kidnapped Princess of Deer. I love herrrr. She is grimy and sullen and slinky and I love herrrrrr.

deepomega (#1,720)

Is this an appropriate place for me to talk about the book I'm reading on the Mountain Meadows massacre? Since, you know, Meyer's a mormon and vampires love massacres?

Anna Jayne@twitter (#11,365)

The hair in these movies is the dumbest hair ever. Lee Pace is the hottest and Kristen Stewart is also totally hot.

Bittersweet (#765)

@Anna Jayne@twitter Lee Pace is the hottest even though they gave him Terrible Hair and Fake Eyes. (This is also true of The Hobbit.)

BattyRabbit (#240,592)

@Bittersweet I have finally made an account on the Awl just to chime in and say that they put Lee Pace in the 1st Hobbit movie for all of 5 seconds and he was a dick for all 5 and I was madly in love with him still for all 5, the end.

melis (#1,854)

Whoa, HOW did I miss number 11? Agree wholeheartedly.

@melis There is no downside. The poor sexy love, he cannot act for beans, he is not going to get Serious Work, so just go with it. Come out, talk about how hard it was to fake your way through the press stuff, and the studio cannot possibly sue you because they would look like monsters.

@Nicole Cliffe@facebook I do think he is super, super hot, for the record. Even though he is actually a baby. Perhaps I have judged his character too harshly all this time?

AHP (#240,564)

@Nicole Cliffe@facebook They don't call him the "Young Tom Cruise" for nothing.

JennyBeans (#7,034)

I have several dozen times contemplated re-writing the series. Same characters and plot, minus the terrible writing (subbing in my own adequate writing and, you know, voice). Aside from the dubious legality, I think it's actually a good idea. Pretty sure I could boil it down into 1 long book, once I cut all the nonce.

Alice is the very best.

3. Alice and Jasper. And sometimes, Alice and Esme!

6. I would in theory, but not if it meant permanently faking my death to every human I know and love. Or even, like, just my mom.

9. Yes! I wonder, and I yearn for something I can love the way I love Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

blueblazes (#238,044)

9. They called it The Hunger Games and I guess it already happened? Also my husband just finished the first draft of a sci-fi/fantasy/romance book, so look for it in 2015. We'll see you guys on the red carpet.

MoxyCrimeFighter (#238,553)

Ugh, any time I see/hear people raving about Twilight, I just want to shove a copy of Robin McKinley's Sunshine into their hands. Con foreverrrrrrrr.

Allspice (#240,591)

@MoxyCrimeFighter I literally just created an account after seriously years of lurking to agree with this. Agreed!

MoxyCrimeFighter (#238,553)

@Allspice For someone who is described as inhuman in a variety of unflattering ways, he is insanely sexy. Which probably says something about me, but I stand by it!

NoReally (#217,942)

"I can't tell if it's your general flat affect, or if you're not that mad, Bella," Edward said.

I laughed loud enough that people asked What? And then I couldn't stop laughing to explain.

Jenn@twitter (#236,777)

imaginary? …uh-oh.

(Does it count if it was a parody crossover I wrote while drunk?)

Dirty Hands (#18,128)

Alice. Alice. ALICE.

How long I've waited.

KateKari (#230,354)

Hahaha, awesome. My mom gave me a box set of the Twilight books (hardcover!) for Xmas one year, because she asked what Xmas book I wanted in my stocking (I always ask for something fun to read on the plane, and I figured I would see what all the fuss was about). Consequently I read them. All four.

Now I kind of want to re-read them with this epilogue in mind. Worth it?

Reverend Wrench (#240,714)

Greetings! I've been enjoying this blog for ages but have only now joined your Community of Commenters. Yey! You've had An Impact on my Life: inspired by Classic Trash I've tried to find copies of 'The Thorn Birds' and 'Lace' in secondhand bookshops (to no avail).
I especially like the 'revive your 13-year-old pre-porn novels' aspect of this blog. I thought you'd already exhausted the genre, but happily I stubbed my fingers against one of my own saucy early-teenage discoveries during Christmas holidays in Cape Town: …drumroll… "Maia" by Richard Adams (of Watership Down fame)! I bought the copy I found, despite the ridicule of my peers and the half kilo of my luggage allowance it'd take up, and I haven't (re)read it yet. My vague recollections are that it's about a beautiful blonde who gets sold into slavery in some sort of magic-less fantasy universe, and then kinky sex ensues, but annoyingly interspersed with some sort of empire-building intrigue storyline. What do you say?
It's 1000 pages long, written before 1985, and the first Amazon commentator calls it 'Tolkien meets Barbarella'. Richard Adams is a good novelist so it might make a nice counterbalance to this 'terrible but enjoyable' Twilight business. Eh? Eh?? Yes!

@Reverend Wrench Ohhh, interesting! We're doing "Mommie Dearest" next, but I am all about discovering Maia!

Reverend Wrench (#240,714)

And on topic… Twilight… yeugh. I saw one of the movies on the plane once; the one where they have a demon baby. As far as I understood there was an avalanche of horniness and erotic buildup over several volumes, and then?? They get married? Have sex ONCE? (or was it twice?) – and immediately conceive some demon spawn? What a literal anticlimax. Kirsten Stewart sure as hell didn't look hot when the makeup department was making her look like she was carrying the demon spawn (sucking her life out? I wasn't wearing my headphones), but even after they put lipstick on her I don't much like her dull eyes and thin lips. I did wonder about the casting, considering there must be waves of sexy juicy starlets with kissable mouths (some of them talented actors too)throwing themselves at opportunities like this one. Oh well.

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